The European Union - Past, Present and Future.

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….6#Homework                                                                                          Tuesday 6th March 2001

The European Union- Past, Present and Future

   The European Union. What is it that they do exactly? Everyone has heard of them, the name regularly pops up in the newspaper or on the TV but to be honest most of us would be pretty stuck if we were asked to say what it was the European Union- or EU for short - actually did. Well, let me tell you that although we maybe (especially us who aren't adults yet) don't realise what the European Union does we would notice if it wasn't there. The European Union does affect the everyday running of the UK.

   The European Union, or European Community (EEC) as it was known then, was established in 1957. It was created to look at the economy of some of the countries in Europe after the Second World War had dramatically crippled it. The committee was set up so that it would be easier for the countries to         trade without too much trouble. This was called the common market. It was also set up so that there would be a lasting reconciliation between France and Germany (because obviously Germany was the 'enemy'.) Another reason why it was set up was to develop some kind of political union so that there would be less change on a World War Three.

The EEC was established by the treaty of Rome in international agreements signed in Rome on March 25, 1957, by Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and The Netherlands. One treaty established the  and created a common market and customs union among its members. The headquarters of the EU was (and still is) Brussels in Belgium.

The EC came into operation on January 1st 1958 with 6 countries in Europe being members. These countries were France, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Italy and West Germany.  The UK decided not to join due to the plans of the ECSE.

  In July 1967 the EEC changed to the EC (European Community. The EC was actually made up of three separate organisations; The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Commission  (Euratom).

In January1973 membership increased to 9 countries as Great Britain, Ireland and Denmark joined. It was hoped that Norway would join the EC but in a national vote the people of Norway voted overwhelmingly that it should not join.

However, even though Great Britain had joined the EU in Britain people were not happy. When the Labour Party regained power in 1974 they decided that they needed to negotiate British membership conditions, especially about financial issues. This however did not result in major changes. The labour party kind of split into groups about whether or nor to stay in the EU and is in June 1975 they decided to call a vote for all the people of Britain. Although some were against the idea, the British citizens voted to stay in the EU.

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However just four years later the British government were still not happy. They claimed that their terms of contract were not fair and that they were not getting as much benefits as it deserved. They tried to change its terms of membership. There was a lot of arguments but eventually in Spring 1980 some members of the EU decided to pay more money. In 1984 Great Britain got refunded $800 million US dollars.

In 1981 Greece joined the EU increasing its members to ten. In 1986, after 8 years of deciding, Spain and Portugal joined the EU ...

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